The Los Angeles Lakers will have their backup power forward back, soon. According to the Lakers, Larry Nance Jr. has been cleared to play as early as Sunday (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll)
Nance has missed the last 15 games while recovering from a knee injury. In that time, the Lakers have been a pedestrian 4-11, including their current streak of five straight losses. He will likely make his return on Sunday as the Lakers take on the Mavericks in Dallas.
Before hurting his knee, Nance had been having a very solid sophomore campaign. The power forward is averaging career highs across the board with seven points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. He has played off the bench in all 28 games.
Nance’s versatility is a key component of a Lakers’ bench unit that has been the strength of the team for the majority of the season. His athleticism and defensive capabilities have been especially major additions to the team.
Having LNJ back is great news for the Lakers, even with a minutes restriction to start. He should be able to help stabilize the team as they seek to get back in the win column.
It will, however, bring with it added difficulties for Luke Walton as he attempts to build better lineups and rotations. Rookie Ivica Zubac has recently appeared in some games and looked like a worthwhile rotation player but finding minutes for all of the Lakers’ bigs will be a difficult task.
Nevertheless, Larry Nance’s return is a welcome sight for a team needing a shot of energy as they continue to fall in the standings.